GUILFORD, Maine — Nearly $1 million in renovations and additions to SAD 4’s two remaining school buildings are nearly completed.
Under a district consolidation plan, the middle school has been converted into Piscataquis Community Elementary School and the high school has been expanded to include Piscataquis Community High School and Piscataquis Community Middle School. Last year, that same plan closed the district’s last outlying elementary schools in Parkman and Guilford.
“We’d like to really thank people for understanding the magnitude of the projects that we’ve undertaken this summer,” SAD 4 Superintendent Paul Stearns said Friday. He also praised the teachers and custodians for working diligently to get their classrooms ready despite the construction work. “The spirit of cooperation has been astounding.”
Open houses for the public, particularly for parents and students, will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. at the middle and high schools and from 1 to 3 p.m. at the elementary school on Aug. 30.
Extra parking is being developed at the elementary school. In addition, the playground equipment has been relocated from the Parkman and Guilford schools, but the pieces will not be installed until parents and teachers develop a plan and diagram, Stearns said. Parents should be aware that, with the exception of school buses, vehicles will be prohibited from the upper loop when students are being discharged.
Stearns said the replacement of the entire middle and high school roof is expected to be completed by next month. The project is funded by a $600,000 bond, but that amount has been exceeded by about $10,000, he said. The contractor discovered some decking that was not properly applied during the original construction and he found minimal rot. The extra cost will be paid through the district’s designated reserve account, he said.
As part of the roof project, Stearns said, insulated panels were installed that slope to the drains, which should prevent water from pooling.
Much steel has been installed inside the school to bring the structural support of the roof up to code. The roof was safe under the code that was in place when the school was built in 1968, but that code has since been changed, according to Stearns.
Two new additions with four classrooms have been added to the middle and high schools constructed by Charleston Correctional Facility inmates, who also made multiple pieces of furniture for the schools, including coat and boot racks and cabinets.
“The workmanship has been excellent,” Stearns said. By having the inmates do the work, the district was able to build a quality place for learning that will include two bathrooms.
Despite not completing the landscaping work for opening day, “we’ll be ready to roll,” Stearns said.